Ok, so let me start of by saying that (at the time of writing) I haven’t read the book Thirteen Reasons Why (please don’t kill me) so I am limited to just experiencing the Netflix show. But you know what? I actually love it! And whilst it may not be the fast paced, high octane action show that seems to flood Netflix, Amazon and Sky these days, it’s still possibly one of the best shows I have seen in a long time.
And in case you were wondering why I love it so much, here are 13 reasons why!
It doesn’t shy away from a really sensitive subject.
For those who don’t know much about it, the base storyline follows a high school student named Clay as he listens to 13 tapes recorded by his class mate, with each one giving a reason why she killed her. He then tries to put everything together and really get an understanding of what happened to her to bring her to that point.
It’s a very sensitive subject, but it is handled rather well, in my opinion. They don’t gloss over anything. They don’t romanticise anything. In fact, it all feels scarily realistic and really hits you hard. And that was a really nice thing to see.
Selena Gomez was Executive Producer, and it’s still good!
I know, right! Selena Gomez as the executive producer may sound like an odd choice… But we should all remember that she’s been through her own trials, so no doubt that helped her make this show as grounded as it is. So yeah, hats off to her – she did a damn good job!
From Goosebumps To Grounded
I’m sure a lot of people will start throwing rocks at my window after reading this (and yes, that was a reference to the show) but I didn’t really like the Goosebumps movie… I used to love the books and the TV show, but the movie just didn’t work for me… So for Dylan Minnette to move from that to such a grounded, yet very harsh series like 13 Reasons Why, and come off as a really great actor, shows he has real talent.
I feel he really managed to get the emotional distress that Clay goes through down to a tee. On top of that, the way he and his costar Katherine Langford work together makes the connection between their characters so believable, it’s heartbreaking.
A Really Great Show For Parents To Watch
Now, this is speaking as a Dad… This is going to be really hard to watch! And I mean really hard… I’ve had a few moments where I had to wipe my eye… I was cutting onions at the time, ok? But seriously, the subject matter of the show should tell you why this is so hard to watch. But as a parent, you should.
The fact is, it deals with the disconnect between teenagers and their parents, and how the parents in the show don’t actually know what is going on in the school… And if they did, then the plot might have been a lot happier… It really hits home the fact that you need to have trust and communication with your kids… And it does it in a really painful way. But it’s worth it. Hell, maybe even watch it with your teenage kids (15+), so they can start to understand that communication between both them and you about their lives is important and can help them.
Each Episode Is A Different Tape, And It Breaks It Up Well.
Cliffhangers are bloody annoying, aren’t they? Especially when they feel cheap or forced (I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead Season 6). Even if it’s a cliffhanger than you know will be resolved in the next episode, rather than the next season, it needs to be done well for it to work and not just piss you off…
And somehow, 13 Reasons Why managed to does every single cliffhanger well, even though there is one in every episode, plus one over arching question as well. So yeah, well done to the script team!
The Theme Music Is Awesome!
Not really much else to say to that, is there? I really like it! So, here it is;
Not bad, huh?
It Shows How Serious Bullying Can Be.
And let’s be honest, anything that can keep building awareness around bullying and how to deal with it, as well as the problems in the way society views it, is great. As a Dad, it’s something that really worries me about my daughter’s future experiences in school, and something that needs to be addressed. This show can only help that.
It Helps Grow Awareness Of The Failings In Society.
Without going into spoiler territory, the fact that the show deals with some really serious issues (on top of the aforementioned suicide), and how society just cannot deal with these in the right way, is difficult to watch through, but necessary. We need people in general to understand where society’s forthcomings do not live up to what is needed. And 13 Reasons Why definitely does that.
Despite All The Painful Plot, There’s Still Some Joy In There.
Too often, there are shows or movies that try to cover a serious issues like suicide, and they just focus on the horrible things that the character went through… But there is still some joy for Hannah in 13 Reasons Why. She still gets to experience some happiness, and there is still that glimmer of hope for her (for a while).
This only helps to make it more realistic, and actually makes the depressing parts for more powerful.
The Cinematography Is Exquisite
The camera angles are awesome, really bringing you into the world and making you feel like you’re a part of the story. But that’s not even the best part! The way in which they merge the past and present scenes together, blending from one to another, is expertly achieved.
Its really hard to explain without you seeing it, but for example, there was a scene where Clay is talking to someone in the same room that Hannah had been in when she was alive. They managed to switch between the past and present and back again with the two different scenes merging together, having Clay and Hannah actually sitting next to each other. It was seamless, and that is really impressive!
It’s Short and To The Point.
I hate filler… In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone does… Even in The Walking Dead (one of my favourite shows) there is a huge amount of filler and it drives me crazy. 13 Reasons Why does not suffer from this. Instead, it has just enough episodes to cover each of the tapes and give a satisfactory end point. So yeah, it’s nice to see them stick to the point and know where to end it before it gets too much.
The Ending Is Open, And It Works So Well…
I know a lot of people who have said that the ending was bad because it was open… And you know what, it did annoy me too, because I wanted to see a resolution for the things that Hannah went through… But this is a show very much grounded in reality, and real life never really offers that much closer. So to have the ending done the way it is (trying not to spoil anything too much here), it helps to keep everything feel as true to life as possible…
It Leaves A Lasting Effect…
It is so rare for a TV show (or movie or book) to leave a lasting effect – to stay in your mind after the final credits and really hit you hard… But 13 Reasons Why did just that. Maybe it’s because I’m a father, with a daughter, and it really hit a string for me… Or maybe it’s because of how well they handled the touchy subject matter. Whatever the reason, this is a show that is going to stick with me for a long time, and that is something very special!
And There You Have It!
Those we 13 reasons why I love 13 Reasons Why (what a great sentence that was). Have you seen the show? What did you think of it? Or Are you planning to watch it soon? Let me know in the comments below!